Bridgewater Town Council Considers Department of Transportation Proposals
by C.M. Gabbett
A proposed road construction project on the merge between route 202/206 and I-287 in Bridgewater was the main topic at the Oct. 5 town council meeting.
Road repairs are often a concern for Bridgewater residents and thus are a main focus of the town council. Several repair projects have been completed this year already, including on Country Club Road, a major road through Bridgewater.
“The sections we’ve completed this year are in excellent shape,” said James Naples, the township administrator.
Bernard Boerchers gave the presentation on behalf of the Department of Transportation, expressing a need to complete a construction project on this intersection. He cited an abnormally high rate of same-direction collisions as the motivation behind the proposal.
The council members appeared interested in the prospect of allowing the merger to flow better. In some cases, this was due to personal experience with the challenging circumstances of driving this route.
“I believe this is a significant, positive step,” said Councilman Howard Norgalis. “I personally avoid that intersection.”
No one on the council displayed any disagreement with the project.
“I am pleased with the DOT’s proposed plan, which addresses a critical safety concern for our community. As (the) DOT acknowledged, this is an intersection with a high accident rate, which demands attention. The DOT has proposed common-sense solutions to help alleviate the dangers of these busy roadways,” Councilman Matthew Moench said.
The presentation from the DOT also informed the council of a proposal to add a highway sign a few exits north of Bridgewater that would alert travelers to the presence of the Bridgewater Commons Mall in Bridgewater, along with exit instructions.
However, the sign would not give the name of the shopping center. Instead, it would refer to the mall as a “shopping center.” The official reason for the distinction, according to Boerchers, was to avoid concerns over government-sponsored advertising.
This logic fell flat with at least one member of the council.
“It’s supposed to be a regional shopping center. Why can’t it say Bridgewater Commons Mall?” asked Councilman Allen Kurdyla. “If I am heading to the Giants game, I want to see signs for Giants stadium.”
Neither proposal received any questions or comments from the residents of Bridgewater when the floor was opened for such contributions.
The construction on the 202/206 intersection and the additional highway sign are both far from certain. At this point in time, both are simply considered proposals on the table as opposed to scheduled projects, pending further approval.